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review 2018-05-11 21:47
When truth is stranger than fiction
A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies and a Murder Plot at the Heart of the Establishment - John M. Preston

The story of a government MP who uses and abuses his position of power to not only funnel funds but also amazingly to arrange the murder of his on/off lover Norman Scott, makes for surreal reading. Jeremy Thorpe was a respected eloquent Liberal MP and under the guise of a suave persona he was frightened to reveal to his friends, and in particular his constituents, that he was homosexual. In the politically correct world we live today such a revelation  would have had little impact in comparison to the frightened and conservative attitude of 60/70's Britain.

 

Norman Scott had received and retained a number of sensitive and very private letters from his lover. Thorpe was terrified that Scott would use this correspondence to blackmail him and reveal to the world at large secrets of his personal life. When all attempts to retrieve the letters failed Jeremy Thorpe unbelievably decided his only real option was to arrange the execution of Scott. What follows is somewhat farcical; when the hired gunman shoots Norman Scott's dog and turns the weapon to his intended target the said gun jams leaving the hired executioner no option but to flee leaving in his wake a frightened and perplexed Scott.

 

The world of politics is often a murky arena where the privileged few appear to operate without any thought for the feelings of others and more importantly refusing to accept any accountability. Yet equally the morals we purport to hold today seem no better than the misguided assumptions of 60/70's London. We need look no further than the recent "Windrush" scandal where the home secretary Amber Rudd clearly lied when questioned by a select committee. The fact that the government then replaced the disgraced MP with an ethnically acceptable minister cannot escape the sour taste of duplicity.

 

"A very English Scandal" was certainly a very informative, witty and entertaining read. The trial that followed the bungled assassination attempt resulted in Jeremy Thorpe being acquitted but it marked the end of his political career. His government seat disappeared under the march of conservatism and the emergence of a new firebrand, the dictatorial  residency of one Margaret Thatcher. The novel also makes mention of Cyril Smith, one time heavyweight Liberal MP for Rochdale, and Jimmy Savile a well known TV personality. It is equally disheartening to realise that these repulsive individuals were able to carry out such vile acts of sexual abuse of the innocent never to be unmasked until after their deaths, even though there was overwhelming evidence. In the case of Cyril Smith the Greater Manchester Police, for their own reasons, choose not to bring Smith to justice in his lifetime and for that they should hang their heads in shame.

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text 2018-03-08 03:16
Kill Your Darlings Yellow Guess - Suspect
You Will Be Mine - Natasha Preston

I read You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston to get Suzanne Collins' card. The book has a young woman as the protagonist.

 

 

 

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review 2018-02-27 12:36
mixed stories
Regency Christmas Wishes - Carla Kelly,Christine Merrill,Janice Preston

Well as snow falls in Ireland Christmas stories are somewhat apt.

 

The first story is one of a Naval Captain who remembers a woman who nursed him when he fell ill. 10 years later he gets the letter he was waiting for, much of it water damaged, but the gist of the letter is that she says yes.  So he goes to find her and finds that things are more complicated than they seem.  There's a fair bit of miraclous happenings and literal deus ex going on in this but it's not a bad story overall

 

Her Christmas Temptation by Christine Merrill is an entertaining story of a rake who goes to break an engagement for his beloved cousin and finds that maybe his motives aren't so clear.  I really enjoyed this one.

 

Awakening his Sleeping Beauty by Janice Preston the Sleeping Beauty metaphor is stretched a little here but the story is good, an opressed heroine finding love and respect is always good.

 

Overall not bad and quite seasonally based, the last two are set during the 12 days of Christmas.

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review 2018-02-19 00:00
City of Endless Night
City of Endless Night - Douglas Preston,... City of Endless Night - Douglas Preston,Lincoln Child Well I enjoyed it but not as much as some of the earlier stories. Some parts of the book just couldn't quite hold my attention and I found myself doing other things. The last quarter of the book, the hunter vs the hunted, had the most action and was my favorite part of the book.
I was really looking forward to seeing Constance and Aloysius's relationship play out but alas that storyline was only alotted about one page so that was kind of a let down. Now I have to "patiently" wait for the next book....

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text 2018-02-15 15:46
slow to start
The Governess's Secret Baby (the Governess Tales, Book 4) - Janice Preston

It took me a while to get into this story but after about half way it flew. It's the story of a girl who gives away her baby, after having it out of wedlock, only to find out where it is and become it's governess. The man who has become the parent for this child is a pretty reclusive scarred man who has issues.

Not a bad read but it took me a long while to finish.

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